“Romantic love may not be essential in life, but it may be essential to joy. Life without love would be for many people like a black-and-white movie-full of events and activities but without the color that gives vibrancy and provides a sense of celebration.” (Hendrick)
Since the dawn of humanity, love has remained a mystery. Some plainly regard it as temporal surge of emotions, while there are some who strongly believe in it. Love encompasses a wide range of literature; being a predominant element of fiction. In contrast to that, we also find instances of love in our mundane lives. An interesting fact is that, we see love in different pieces of fiction and instances of real life, but we see it in different forms. There is the love of Mr. Darcy (in Pride & Prejudice), stifled in his heart. On the other hand, there is the love of Romeo & Juliet shouted from the rooftop. All these contrasts leave us bewildered as to what truly love is and what is not.
The definitive history of love highlights the following four traditions. They are denoted by Greek terms and define this primary emotional experience: (1) eros: the search for the beautiful. (2) philia: the affection in friendship. (3) nomos: submission and obedience to the divine. And (4) agape: the bestowal of love by the divine. Thus, according to the researchers there is no definitive behavior that could be regarded as love. Different people behave differently when they are in love according to their own personalities and nature.
John Lee, in 1973, proposed that how people love in various manners can be categorized basically in six love styles. He called them the colors of love. These are the different modi operandi that people use when they love someone.
The literal meaning of eros is the love of beauty. It’a highly sensual, intense and passionate style of love. It’s more physical and emotional in nature. The objective of this style is to develop sexual contentment and aesthetic enjoyment for each other. This styles includes creating sexual security for the beloved by striving to forsake options of sharing one’s sexual and intimate self with people other than the beloved.
How you can identify Eros:
- In this style, lovers choose their beloved by intuition or chemistry.
- Erotic lovers are heard of saying that they fell in love at the first sight.
- They perceive their partner in an idealized manner.
- They fall into intense agony and despair when they are separated.
- People of other romantic styles consider erotic lovers as childish, unrealistic and trapped in fantasy.
Strength: The strength of this style is its heat and sentimentality. For some time, there is nothing in the world for them except for another. They fly in the dreams and make castles in the air. It’s the fire burning in the two hearts that make this love attractive.
Shortcoming: The downside of this style is that a fire can’t keep burning forever. It extinguishes with time. Since no human is perfect, such lovers inevitably come to see the weaknesses of their beloved over time. There, the beloved comes down from the high idealized pedestal to the ground. This lead to a decay in attraction and love.
Such lovers often choose one another out of passion. They keep living in the fantasy for some time. But when the rush of hormones comes down, when the height of passion decreases and reality knocks the door, they often regret their decision.
Example: The love of Rose and Jack in the blockbuster Titanic is a vivid example of eros.
Storge is basically the familial love. This style of love gradually grows out of friendship or gets developed when two people live together for a long time.
How you can identify Storge:
- Rather than passion, this love is based more on a similarity of interests and commitment.
- It includes familial responsibilities, duties, entitlements and loyalties.
- This leads to the achievement of mutual goals together.
Strength: This style of love is consistent and secure. It involves comfort, care, trust and cooperation.
Shortcoming: It lacks the element of sentimentality and passion which prevents it from standing out as love.
Example: The love between Lucy and George is storge as it grew out of their long-term interaction. Lucy served as a nanny for George more than a secretary, taking care of everything in his life. Gradually this caused an attachment between them that turned into love.
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This term is derived from pragmatism which refers to an approach to problems and situations that is based on practical solutions. As the name implies This style of love is very realistic and practical. The person chooses his/her beloved by practically judging all the aspects. The aspects might include practical compatibility, financial stability, intelligence, social standing or sensibility of the partner. In simple words, people of this style do not choose a partner beacuse they feel something towards them rather they decide about choosing a partner depending on how practically compatible s/he might be.
How you can identify Pragma:
- They look for partners whom they can share common goals with.
- The develop realistic expectations about their partner.
- They want to find value in their partner.
Strength: Such relationship might seem successful because of the rationality of the choice. They choose a partner that is compatible and achieve common goals with him/her. The realism and practicality leads to longevity of the relationship.
Shortcoming: It lacks the element of emotionalism that is the color of relationship. They lack spontaneity. It’s more like choosing the right candidate for a job than choosing a love partner. Such rational people develop feelings for whom they see is right according to their criteria.
Example: The love of Charlotte Lucas for Mr. Collins in he famous classic novel Pride & Prejudice is a good example of pragma. Her words in about it were, ” I am not romantic, you know; I never was. I ask only a comfortable home. And considering Mr. Collins’s character, connection, and situation in life, I am convinced that my chance of happiness with him is as fair as most people can boast on entering the marriage state.”
The term Ludus is a Latin noun which means playfulness. As the name refers, this is the game-playing or uncommitted sort of love. Such people take love for fun and a good time-pass. They don’t get serious with the partner and never intend to commit.
How you can identify Ludus:
- They perceive love as a game and try to “win” as many partners as possible.
- Their focus is on obtaining fun from the relationship and they don’t get serious.
- Infidelity is very common n this type and they often keep more than one partners.
- They hide their personal lives and true selves from their partners (of course, since they are just kidding around in the name of love).
- They don’t get much involved emotionally with the partner.
- Such people easily get over break-ups and find replacements.
Strength: One can hardly call it love, but sadly this is one type of love we can commonly find among people. It’s good for the person him/herself as they get all the fun and escape the commitment or obligation part.
Shortcoming: Of course, it’s unethical and dishonest. It is quite unfortunate for such person’s partner, especially if the partner gets attached to the person of this style. Over time, such people develop a nasty reputation and people who take their love life seriously try to stay away from such notorious persons.
Example: The love style of Mr. Wickham in the novel Pride & Prejudice was ludus. He was courting Miss King as well as Lydia, while at the same time, was trying to get Elizabeth Bennet’s attentions.
Mania literally means an excessive enthusiasm or desire; an obsession. This is what this love is. It’s an obsessive, dependent and possessive love. The person gets obsessed with his/her beloved. S/he holds the partner in a very high esteem, idealizes them and puts them on a very high and unrealistic pedestal. They become overly dependent on the beloved and can’t survive without them.
How you can identify Mania:
- Such lovers usually have a low self-esteem and they need to be loved by their partner.
- They become very possessive and jealous.
- They place very high importance on their partner and relationship, making the beloved center of their life.
Strength: Such lovers worship their beloved. They go to great lengths to be with them and can never think of losing them. They show strong passion towards their partner and give them high value.
Shortcoming: This style of love might seem charming in the beginning, but gradually it becomes horrible. Such lovers are very clingy. They get so possessive that they get jealous of anyone who interacts with their partner. They are never satisfied with the amount of attention they get from the partner and keep asking for more. Anger outbursts, lack of tolerance and arguments are common. They can harm anyone whom they think is getting between them and their beloved. More surprisingly, they can harm themselves or even their beloved out of frustration. Suicide may occur in such style and it may give birth to numerous abnormal behaviors.
Example: The love of John Hinckley Jr. is an example of manic love. He fell in love with the Hollywood actress Jodie Foster after watching her in the movie The Taxi. He attempted to assassinate US president Ronald Reagan in Washington, D.C. in order to get her attention.
Agape is a term referring to “the highest form of love, charity” and “the love of God for man and of man for God”. This is the style of love in which a person considers his/her partner a gift of God. Their love is sincere, sacrificing and selfless. They take care of their partner and have compassion towards them. Obtaining the beloved is not the goal instead seeing them happy is. They wish well for their beloved, make effort for them and are willing to sacrifice everything for their happiness. And they want nothing in return.
How you can identify Agape:
- This love is altruistic and spiritual in nature, not sexual.
- Such people are loyal and have an unbreakable commitment with their partner.
- They are forgiving, patient, sacrificing and understanding.
- They are more focused on giving in a relationship than receiving.
Strength: Having such a selfless lover is a blessing beyond comparison. Such lovers themselves stay satisfied with the relationship because they expect nothing.
Shortcoming: In today’s materialistic world, there is a chance for people to misunderstand such lovers. There might be people who take such selfless people for granted. Some with mean nature could even try to take advantage of their selflessness and exploit them.
Example: The love of Forrest Gump for Jenny was agape. He spent his entire life pursuing her and tried to help her at every step. He even forgave her for leaving him and went to her whenever she called him.
Similarly, the love between Jim and Della in The Gift of Magi by O. Henry was also agape. They both gave away their dearest possessions to get each other something valuable.
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